Types of energy-efficient lightbulbs

Most houses can make use of the two main types of energy-efficient bulbs: LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) and CFLs (Compact Flourescent Lamps). While both of these options are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, LEDs are more efficient than CFLs.

Unlike older-style 'low-energy' bulbs, LEDs offer improved light quality from the moment you turn them on. LEDs are longer lasting too (up to 25 years per bulb)(2) and come in a wide variety of designs and fittings. And to give you an idea of their efficiency, if every bulb in your house was replaced with LED bulbs of the same brightness, you could save around £35 per year on your electricity bill.(1)

How to be more energy efficient with lighting

Once you've installed energy-saving light bulbs, you can still reduce your bills by being more energy wise around the home, for instance:

  • Switch the lights off when you leave the room. Sounds obvious – but how often do you do it?
  • Keep an eye on how many lights you have on at once and ask yourself which ones you really need
  • Check the positioning of your light switches – if you can turn the lights off at the end of the hallway, you're less likely to waste electricity. Moving a light switch is a simple job for a qualified electrician
  • Where appropriate, install movement sensors and timers. That way you won't have to remember to switch off
  • Choose the right kind of lighting. If you're reading or writing, a small directional lamp might be more efficient than a large, overhead light
  • Smart lighting offers you more control – so you can use your smartphone, tablet or voice to turn off lights when you're not there.  

Do I have to use energy-efficient lightbulbs?

In short, yes. All traditional incandescent bulbs are now banned as part of the shift towards more efficient technologies. The less efficient halogen bulbs will have been phased out by the EU in 2018(1). This is good news because it means the whole of Europe will use less energy through lighting, and because energy-efficient lightbulbs are becoming cheaper all the time, it's a win win!

Smart lighting combines control and efficiency

The clever way to control your lighting and use energy efficient bulbs is to install smart lighting. The Philips Hue Starter Kit is a good place to begin. It comes with two bulbs (choose bayonet (B22) or screw (E27) fittings) and a ‘bridge’ that connects the lighting system to your wifi. Hue bulbs can be white or colour-changing, and last for 25,000 hours.

Once you’re all set up, you can control your lighting via your smart device or even your voice if you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home device. Bright lights or more muted tones, off or on, alerts or reminders, you’ll have complete control at your fingertips.